Body Piercing Problems - Diseases

Piercing is becoming more and more popular, especially in the last decade. Both, men and women love to pierce their noses, navels, eyebrows etc etc. Many areas of the body are used for piercing. Most people who have piercings do not develop any problems.  Body piercing indicates the puncturing of a part of the body in which jewelry may be worn. In recent years, oral piercing is increasingly popular especially among young people. Body piercing has to be considered as a surgical procedure to all intents and purposes and, as such, has to be performed only by qualified personnel able to assure high standards of professionalism in facilities subject to sanitary inspections.

Each body piercing site has its own normal healing time and its own set of potential problems. Home treatment can help speed healing of the wound and prevent problems. At first, a body piercing site may be slightly swollen. A small amount of blood or fluid may drain from the site.

Common problems that develop from body piercing include:

- Infection of the site. The risk for infection increases if you have other health risks.

- Infection of the mouth or lips may cause speech, chewing, or swallowing problems or swelling that can block the throat.

- Infection of a nipple can scar the breast tissue and limit the ability to breast-feed later.

The infection may be potentially serious or life-threatening and involve the entire body (systemic).

Splitting or tearing of the skin, which may cause the formation of scar tissue.
Problems with the type of jewelry used, including allergies to a metal. Make sure you use the type of jewelry designed for your piercing site. Only use nonallergenic jewelry. Surgical stainless steel, gold, platinum, niobium, and titanium are the only types of jewelry you should use in a new piercing.

Other problems caused by the jewelry:

Jewelry in the mouth or lips can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, gum problems, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. Jewelry can also become loose and be swallowed. See a picture of a swallowed tongue piercing.

Jewelry in the navel can get caught on clothing and linens. This constant irritation can delay healing. Navel piercings can take up to a year to heal completely.

Jewelry in the genital area may cause injury to you or your sex partner. It also can cause condom breakage, increasing the risk of pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted infections. Piercings in the penis can decrease a man's ability to get or maintain an erection.

Damage to underlying blood vessels or nerves.

Scarring of the piercing site.

Health Risks - Oral Piercing:

Oral mucosal lesions: tongue, gums and palate are the most frequently affected areas;
Possible tooth loss, particularly in the anterior mandibular region;
Dentine hypersensitivity and periodontitis;
Dental fissures or extensive gingival recession;
Hemorrhage, hematoma and infection because the piercing was in continuous contact with food and saliva.
Phonation and masticatory disorders;
Tooth migration;
Streptococcal pharyngitis;

How to Prevent any Possible Risks:

Have a cold liquid diet for the first 24 hours, and then a soft food diet.

Ice the external part for 30 minutes at intervals of 45 minutes for a total 4/5 applications a day, to reduce the edema occurring in the first stage of healing.

The swelling reduces after 24 hours and disappears after about 5 days.

Do not use any type of oral rinse for the first 24 hours; then 4/5 rinses a day with 0,12% chlorhexidine for 10 days.

Limit alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine, at least for the first few days: they could increase swelling, bleeding, pain or compromise the physiological process of epithelial cell turnover in the oral mucosa.

Replace the oral piercing jewelry with something smaller which will reduce irritation of the oral cavity, once the lesion has healed.

Avoid chewing tobacco, nails and gums to prevent further microlesions of the oral mucosa during soft tissue healing.

Avoid speaking too much, or beating the jewelry against dental hard tissues: the mouth already suffers a severe trauma while speaking and eating.

-Take particular care of oral hygiene and brush the jewelry with a soft toothbrush, which should be done very gently when the lesion is still healing in order to reduce plaque formation around the oral piercing. As a matter of fact, particular attention should be paid in maintaining personal health: it is important to be patient during the entire healing process, even if the piercing seems to have healed earlier than expected.

Regularly check oral and per oral piercings to avoid infections in such areas.

Presence of unpleasant sensations such as itch, ache and pain;
Motor and sensitive nerve lesions: nerve damage is more frequent in case of dorsolateral tongue piercing. These lesions involve alterations such as dysgeusia for a few days or more.

If a sterile technique is not used, there is a chance of spreading many potentially life-threatening diseases through piercing. The most common diseases transmitted are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Other diseases that can be spread from piercing include tuberculosis, syphilis, and HIV. Blood infections (sepsis) can occur if a sterile technique is not used.

You can reverse a body piercing fairly easily by removing the jewelry, which allows the hole to close. If you have not yet made a decision about piercing, it may be helpful to learn about making the choice to have a piercing and how to prevent problems.

If you have a problem with a body piercing site, check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.


Piercing Risks
Piercing Pain
Piercing Mistakes